Swiss researchers develop revolutionary corrosion protection material


Swiss researchers have created a revolutionary solution to combat corrosion with a new plastic material that glows where it is undamaged, self-repairs, and can be recycled multiple times. Markus Niederberger and Walter Caseri led a team at ETH Zurich’s Laboratory for Multifunctional Materials to develop Poly(phenylene methylene) or PPM – a highly effective corrosion protection material that is also more resilient than previous alternatives.

PPM as a Multi-Benefit Solution

PPM is mixed as paint and heated, then applied as a solid protective layer on surfaces. It indicates holes and cracks in the protective layer, and repairs damage without additional intervention. Even though PPM is applied in layers up to ten times thinner than conventional protective agents, it provides durable protection against corrosion, especially for aluminium. PPM’s key advantages include being recyclable, minimising material loss, and the high recycling rate of 95%. Moreover, the polymer material can be removed, recycled and reused for up to five times, making it a highly cost-effective solution.

PPM’s Environmental Impact and Potential Market

Although PPM is not entirely harmless to the environment, its impact can be limited if used appropriately. The researchers hope that PPM corrosion protection will be commercialised, pending the patent approval of their invention. They are also looking for an industry partner to further develop and distribute it on a larger scale. With an estimated $4,000 billion spent annually worldwide on corrosion protection, there is huge potential for PPM to revolutionise the market. While there are still improvements to be made, the technology behind PPM is a breakthrough for materials science.

PPM material offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution for combating corrosion in various industries. Its multiple benefits include being recyclable, self-repairing, and providing durable protection, while also minimising material loss. The researchers’ pioneering work in developing this material offers a glimpse of the potential for materials science to offer innovative solutions that can benefit both the economy and the environment.